A Georgia man recently admitted in court that he grew medical marijuana, which is a bold move in a state known for it's strong anti-cannabis stance. But instead of punching his ticket to prison, the jury sent him home.
When police raided Javonnie McCoy's Dublin, Georgia home four years ago, he was charged with manufacturing marijuana, a felony that could have led to two years in prison. And while he chose to fight the case, McCoy had no intention of lying to the jury, so he told them he had been growing cannabis to use as treatment for injuries he sustained 15 years ago when he was beaten into a coma.
"Marijuana makes you eat," McCoy told the jury. "It made me feel calm. It made me relax. It helps with my pain."
He said he preferred marijuana to his prescriptions "because Zoloft turned me into a zombie."
McCoy was defended by Laurens County circuit for Atlanta attorney Catherine Bernard, who has had success in defeating several other cannabis-related cases in Georgia, including the case of a family that had their child taken away after they gave him cannabis to control his seizures. During McCoy's trial, Bernard persuaded jurors to recognize that her client's cannabis consumption wasn't affecting anyone else.
"In America, we leave someone alone if they are not bothering somebody," Bernard said. "A world where he needs to be dragged away by armed men and put in a cage is not a world where people want to live."
And if this case sparks more cannabis reform in Georgia, then the Peach State could turn into a place where cannabis consumers want to live.